Article published in:Linguistic Variation Yearbook 2008
General Editor: Jeroen van Craenenbroeck
[Linguistic Variation Yearbook 8] 2008
► pp. 101–130
Sequence of tense in (French) child language
We discuss the results of an L1 French comprehension study of the construal of present and imperfective past in (non) subordinate contexts. Our findings reveal that children accept (sometimes enforce) non-indexical simultaneous construals of both present and past under a matrix past — though present is utterance-indexical in adult French. Extending Kratzer’s (1998) zero-tense analysis of English past under past simultaneous construals to Japanese present under past simultaneous construals, we argue that zero-tenses in L1 French surface either as past (adult French) or as present (adult Japanese). That children allow multi-valued parameter settings is expected on the Multiple Grammars hypothesis where language acquisition involves grammar competition. We extend our zero-tense analysis of non-adult tense construals in subordinate contexts to non-subordinate contexts, by arguing that the binder of a zero-tense in child grammar can be a temporal adverb denoting the ‘now’ of the speaker or some salient time implicit in the context.
Published online: 24 July 2009
Cited by 3 other publications
Marques, Rui, Purificação Silvano, Anabela Gonçalves & Ana Lúcia Santos
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